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BAAA plays leading national sports role

Sports Scope
FRED STURRUP
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive

Published: May 18, 2012

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The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is celebrating its 60th year of existence. The organization is without a doubt, now, the leader in Bahamian sports. This wasn’t always the case.

Actually, it was on the international sailing stage that The Bahamas was first noted as a nation that could compete favorably with the best the rest of the world had to offer in sports. This little country made its entry into the world sports elite circle way back in 1947, five years before the former Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association came into being.

We sailed to that lofty level on the shoulders of skipper Durward Knowles and crew member Sloane Farrington as they won the 1947 World Star Class Championship. I mention these kinds of historic facts often so that the newer generations of readers would understand the important contributions made through the years, in sports. Knowles and Farrington pioneered national sports excellence in The Bahamas, through international sailing.

Through track and field however, there has been continuity of sports excellence. Representatives of the BAAA have performed admirably, going back to the decade of the 1950s. Today, it is the BAAA that plays the leading national sports role in this country. As much as any other, that point which cannot be denied, clearly defines 60 years of progress on the part of athletes, coaches and administrators and the rest of the BAAA family.

It is important to note here, again for the benefit of history, that prior to the emergence of the BAAA in 1952, there were other Bahamians excelling on the world stage of track and field (although not competing under a Bahamian banner). I refer to the great Charlie Major Sr. who was one of the best high jumpers in the world as a collegiate athlete in the United States during the late 1920s and 1930s.

My research also has Cyril Richardson, on the other side of the international pond, being one of the top runners in the United Kingdom years prior to 1952. Those factors are important when one reflects on the legacy of the BAAA. The BAAA has indeed done incredibly well for this nation. Again, it was sailing that set certain standards. We got our first world championship through international sailing as aforementioned and also our first Olympic gold medal from that discipline (Knowles in 1964, with Cecil Cooke).

However the BAAA has matched that double achievement more than once. The Original Golden Girls were world sprint relay champions in 1999 and Olympic Champions in 2000. Tonique Williams-Darling was the 400-meter (m) Olympic gold medalist in 2004 and the World Champion for the event in 2005.

Williams-Darling stands as the only Bahamian to individually attain world championship and Olympic gold medal status, yet another accolade for the BAAA. So, the BAAA approaches its high point of celebration with much to reflect upon. A special supplement, scheduled for publication on May 25 will give more of the organization’s history. A ceremony of celebration will also take place on May 27 at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

Let’s all celebrate with the BAAA!

To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.


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